This Note traces the roots of the Stolen Valor Act (SVA) to medieval sumptuary laws and laws regulating the use of heraldry. Like these historical laws, the SVA operates as a social ordering mechanism. Military uniforms and decorations are regulated because of their communicative value. The Note reveals the SVA 's function and the reasons for its passage by examining the evolution of laws governing military dress and the government's defenses of such laws throughout the twentieth century. The SVA was passed in order to appease a politically sympathetic interest group, veterans, at little to no cost to the federal government. It ensures the government's investment in its military labor force, protects public safety, and prevents the honor associated with military awards from being diluted or stolen.
Stolen Valor: A Historical Perspective on the Regulation of Military Uniform and Decorations,
Yale J. on Reg.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjreg/vol29/iss2/9